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Fatah Revolutionary Council

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Fatah Revolutionary Council

The Fatah-Revolutionary Council (F-RC) was established by Sabri al-Banna  with the cooperation of Iraqi authorities and  produced the magazine Filastin al-Thawra. At first, it maintained links with PLO intelligence apparatus from pre-Black September Jordan, including Samih Abu Kuwayk and Naji ‘Allush, and even possibly covert links with Abu Iyad. But tensions escalated with the PLO: ‘Allush was briefly detained in August of 1974; F-RC associate, Muhammed ‘Abd al-Ghafur, killed in Beirut on ‘Arafat's orders, on September 12, 1974. F-RC attempted to assassinate Abu Mazen (Mahmoud Abbas), but operatives were captured and Abu Nidal was sentenced to death on PLO-CC decision.

Its most famous acts have been the assassination of Israeli ambassador Shlomo Argov (London, 1982) (this was the excuse for the Israeli invasion of Lebanon) assassinations of Said Hamami and  ‘Izz al-Din Qalaq (1978), Naim Khudr (1981), ‘Isam Sartawi (1983), and Abu Iyad (1991). Moved closer to Libya from late 70s, and seen to be acting on behalf of them: eg assassination of Yusuf al-Siba‘i, editor of al-Ahram (Cyprus, 1978), hijacking of Egyptian plane to Malta in 1985.

In 1989, various leaders (including Atif Abu Bakr, chief spokesman) moved to Sudan with 150 members, denouncing Libya. From 1992, Libya enforced inactivity. The group unsuccessfully tried to gain control of Sidon refugee camp in the early 90s; and  was involved in the assassination of the First Secretary of the Jordanian embassy in Lebanon in 1994, leading to vigorous attempts by the Lebanese army to destroy its remaining infrastructure; Jordan convicted (in absentia) Abu Nidal and  four others to death for this on December 3, 2001. Abu Nidal died in mysterious circumstances in Iraq under the Saddam regime.

Present leaders including ‘Ali al-Farra ("Dr Kamal") are in charge of espionage. They are now thought to be working on behalf of Egyptian intelligence, including assassination of Shaykh Salah ‘Abd al-Mutalib (imam in Yemen, leader of Egyptian Jihad). Some former members have now been allowed by Israel to live in the West Bank and Gaza.

Synonyms and alternate spellings:

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Encyclopedia of the Middle East

Note - This encyclopedia is a work in progress. It is far from complete and is being constructed and improved all the time. If you would like to contribute articles or expansions of existing articles, please contact news (at) mideastweb.org.  Suggestions and corrections are welcome. The concise version of this dictionary is at our Middle East Glossary.

Spelling - Spelling of words in Middle-Eastern languages is often arbitrary. There may be many variants of the same name or word such as Hezbollah, Hizbolla, Hisbolla or Husayn and Hussein. There are some conventions for converting words from Semitic languages such as Arabic and Hebrew There are numerous variant renderings of the same Arabic or Hebrew words, such as "Hizbollah," "Hisbulla" etc. It is not possible to find exact equivalents for several letters. 

Pronunciation - Arabic and Hebrew vowels are pronounced differently than in English. "o" is very short. The "a" is usually pronounced like the "a" in market, sometimes as the "a" in "Arafat."  The " 'A " is guttural.  " 'H "- the 'het ('Hirbeh, 'Hebron, 'Hisbollah') designates a sound somewhat similar to the ch in "loch" in Scots pronunciation, but made by touching the back of your tongue to the roof of your mouth. The CH should be pronounced like Loch, a more assertive consonant than 'het.

The "Gh" combination, and sometimes the "G," designate a deep guttural sound that Westerners may hear approximately as "r." The "r" sound is always formed with the back of the tongue, and is not like the English "r."

More information: Hebrew, Arabic

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Fatah Revolutionary Council